Ji Ning just closed his eyes.
This was the demonheart world; killing him here wouldn’t actually have an impact on his Dao-heart. In addition…Ning had a certain feeling. He had spent more than thirty thousand years within this demonheart world. He had allowed himself to sink deeply into this world multiple times before rousing himself once more. This had only resulted in his Dao-heart becoming even stronger. This sudden appearance of a ‘new successor to the Starseizing Estate’ was most likely the last trick the demonheart tribulation had to play.
BOOM! The giant palm suddenly came to a halt directly above Ji Ning. It was mere inches away from Ning. If Ning lifted his head up, he would be able to see the enormous fingerprints of that massive palm.
“Why have you halted…” Ning asked calmly, “…New master of the Starseizing Estate.”
“You aren’t afraid of death?” The towering figure said, slowing pulling back his enormous, sky-covering hand.
“If you want to kill me, kill me,” Ning said coldly.
“I had thought that killing a previous owner of the Starseizing Estate would be quite an interesting affair…but you actually aren’t going to fight back at all? How dull,” the towering figure said. Ning did his best to try and make out what this new master of the Starseizing Estate looked like, but he wasn’t able to see anything.
The towering figure waved his hand.
One figure after another appeared in the air. There was a pair of white-robed Immortal lovers; Ji Yichuan and Yuchi Snow. There was also a white-robed, white-haired man who had an aura of calmness and tranquility about him…an azure-robed maiden…the mature Autumn Leaf…the young Spring Grass…Ning’s Dao-companions Yu Wei and Ninelotus…and their three children.
“Ning, son, have you just grown more powerful?”
“Why have you brought us here?” Yuchi Snow and the others all raised their heads to look towards the massive figure in confusion. They didn’t even give Ning a glance.
Ning’s face instantly changed.
“Ji Ning…you understand now, right? Yes…as you have guessed…I just used the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] to transform into your appearance,” the towering figure said. “They believe me to be you! And, thanks to my power…they are completely unable to see you or hear your voice.”
“What are you going to do?” Ning roared.
The towering figure suddenly stretched out with a single finger. He gave a single flick! The flick landed on the body of the white-robed, white-haired man. The man’s eyes were filled with disbelief…and with a boom, he exploded, transforming into dust.
“Uncle White!” Ning called out in shock, feeling pain in his heart.
He bore tremendous love for Uncle White in the real world, and he had also spent thirty thousand years loving Uncle White in the demonheart world. Upon seeing Uncle White be slaughtered…Ning instantly felt utter agony in his heart, agony so great as to affect even his Dao-heart.
“There’s plenty left. Don’t worry,” the towering figure said.
“What are you going to do?!” Ning knew that this was just nothing more than another illusion of the demonheart world…but the emotions he had built up over thirty thousand years wouldn’t be so easily wiped away.
“I’m going to kill them, one by one,” the towering figure said. “But of course…if you accept me as your master and owner, I can spare them.”
“In your dreams,” Ning said through gritted teeth.
Ning was no fool. He knew that the demonheart tribulation was part of the Dao of the Heavens; if he was to swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens in the demonheart world to be a servant, he would truly and forevermore be lost.
“Then I’ll continue to kill.” The towering figure flicked his finger out again.
“Ning, son, what are you doing?”
“Ning, son, stop!”
“Master…you are going to kill me?”
The voices of his loved ones caused Ning to feel as though his heart was being torn apart. However…he gritted his teeth, just watching as they died, one by one.
“Ning, son…I know that you must be acting under some sort of duress.” Yuchi Snow closed her eyes, dying peacefully.
“Ji Ning! What the hell are you doing!” Ji Yichuan’s eyes were so wide, his eyelids were threatening to tear apart.
“Father. FATHER!” The three children who venerated Ji Ning were all sobbing.
The slaughter continued.
Ninelotus died! Yu Wei died! Little Qing died! One by one…all of his loved ones died.
Those emotional chains, forged and tempered over the course of thirty thousand years, had long ago wrapped themselves firmly around Ning. When he saw them all be killed, one after the other…those chains began to tug at him with greater power than ever before. They were going to pull Ning down, to drag him under.
“Ji Ning…what a callous heart you have.” The towering figure roared with anger. These words pierced deeply into Ning’s inner heart; it was as though his family members were all pointing at him and saying these words. “What a callous heart you have.”
Ning shut his eyes.
Even if all the people of the universe were to point at him in such a manner…he didn’t want for his family to point at him.
Thirty thousand years…
But in the end…it was all fabricated.
The world completely blew apart. Everything blew apart; even that towering figure blew apart.
The real world.
“Ji Ning has already spent three full months within the deomnheart tribulation. This…this is simply…I’ve never even heard of something like this!” Immortal Diancai looked nervously at the seated black-robed Ning. “A three month long demonheart tribulation…I really worry as to if Ji Ning can withstand it.” His own demonheart tribulation had been far briefer.
“My master’s demonheart tribulation also lasted for three months.” Yu Wei caressed her belly, a look of worry in her eyes. She still remembered what Lu Dongbin had said to her: “Long ago…I was just a hair away from truly sinking into the dreams. Even now, I would be unwilling to undergo the demonheart tribulation a second time.”
“Hurry and wake up!” Northson was truly worried as well.
They all knew that the longer the demonheart tribulation was, the more terrifying it would be.
Ning’s demonheart tribulation had actually persisted for three months; this was utterly astonishing!
“Why has the Primaltwin’s demonheart tribulation lasted for so long? Is it due to the karmic sinflames?” The distant elder in the Daoist robes was watching quietly as well. All he could do was watch and wait; Ji Ning would have no one to rely on but himself, if he wanted to wake up from the demonheart tribulation.
Everyone’s gaze turned towards Ji Ning…because the black-robed Ning had just opened his eyes.
“He woke up,” Uncle White said with surprise and joy.
“Master succeeded! Wahahaha, he overcame his tribulation and became a Celestial Immortal!” Little Qing seemed to have gone a bit delirious with joy.
“Junior apprentice-brother!” Yu Wei was extremely excited.
All of them were.
As for the black-robed Ning, he just thought there. His thoughts, his mind…everything was slowly coming back to him from the demonheart world. Only a long moment later did he realize…that his face was covered with tears.
He loved and longed for everything he had within the demonheart world. Everyone he cared about was still alive. It had all been a dream…but that dream had lasted for thirty thousand years, far longer than the mere century he had spent in the real world. He wanted to forget it all, but…how?
“I’m sorry,” Ning said softly.
He knew that those ‘family members’ were all just an illusion…but Ning still said those words.
“No wonder Master also shed tears after he successfully overcame his tribulation,” Ning said softly to himself. “This demonheart tribulation really is…”
Only now, after having escaped the demonheart world, did Ji Ning truly understand how terrifying that illusory world had been. In truth, he had danced at the very edge of truly falling into the abyss and never returning. Things had grown especially dangerous for him after he accepted and reciprocated the love of Yu Wei and Ninelotus! After having accepted their love, he now had even more ties to that world.
However…fortune and disaster rode together! Accepting their love did indeed make him sink even deeper into the dream, but precisely because of that, when he successfully struggled to shake off his chains and take control over himself once more, his Dao-heart had reaped even more rewards.
If he hadn’t sunk into the dream, he wouldn’t have been strengthened by the awakening.
But if he had sunk too deeply into it…he would have died.
Fortunately, his heartforce had reached the peak of the ‘ruler’ stage; otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to withstand the demonheart tribulation.
An Immortal melody rang out as auspicious clouds descended from the heavens and golden lotuses began to bloom throughout the area.
A terrifying presence descended, pouring the energy of the natural world into Ning’s body. The universe itself began to transform Ning’s Primaltwin.
The black-robed Ning could clearly sense that the energy of the natural world, with the invisible help of the Dao of the Heavens, had begun to compress all of the energy within his body. His soul completely fused with his golden-lotus Primal; in fact, even his Zifu Region began to merge into the golden-lotus Primal, as well as the Sole-Ki Pearl of Primalwater itself.
The lotus seed-head at the top of the golden lotus gave birth to a tiny little golden lotus seed. This was the most important thing for Celestial Immortals, True Immortals, and even Golden Immortals of the Great Firmament…the golden pellet, the Jindan!
As the Jindan flew out, the Zifu Region, the Sole-Ki Pearl, and everything else vanished. In fact, the body of the Primaltwin Ning was changing as well, transforming into a Celestial Immortal’s body, a body that was designed and created through Celestial Immortal energy.
“Jindan?” The black-robed Ning murmured to himself.
This was the very core of his entire life essence…this tiny little golden pellet.
This Jindan possessed utterly inconceivable power. It merged all power into it, melting everything into a dazzling, beautiful golden luster. A perfect Jindan would contain even the soul and the truesoul within it; there would never again be any distinction between them! In fact, the Jindan also contained a dimension within it that held an enormous amount of Celestial Immortal energy. The energy of the natural world was drawn into the Jindan, and even magic treasures could be stored within it.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ning sensed his body transcending, one breath at a time, as Immortal energy flowed throughout his entire body.
Only now did Immortal Diancai and the others fly over. The black-robed Ning smiled towards them in welcome.
“Ji Ning, congratulations on your Primaltwin overcoming the tribulation. Nine nine-sets of thunder tribulation, and a three month demonheart tribulation…I’ve never even imagined something like this happening.” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning. “I, Diancai, actually have a disciple like you…ahahaha, I regret nothing in life, nothing!”
“Master, you are absolutely incredible. I admire you to death!” Little Qing, in the form of a little azure serpent, immediately coiled herself Ning’s arm with incomparable friendliness.
“I’m actually panicking right now,” Ning said with a laugh. “My Primaltwin’s tribulation was already as frightening as this…I can’t even imagine what my true body’s tribulation is going to be like.”
“It’s just another tribulation. Nothing is impossible for you, senior apprentice-brother,” Northson said. “When you went to take part in the Conclave of Immortal Destiny, how many people tried to convince you not to go? They all said that you didn’t spend enough time training, that you’d be at a disadvantage. But not only did you go, you even became the champion of the Conclave. Afterwards, you only became more and more incredible. And now, you’ve actually overcome nine nine-sets of thunder tribulation and a three month demonheart tribulation. I’m completely convinced that nothing can possibly stop you.”
“Me too.” Yu Wei took Ning by the hand and smiled at him.
Everyone present had watched as Ning had grown up. In their eyes, Ning was an utterly monstrous talent; he had stunned them time and time again. Thus, they were convinced that Ning could do anything! After all, just now, they had personally watched as Ning had overcome nine nine-sets of thunder tribulation and a ridiculously long demonheart tribulation.
“Disciple.” A voice rang out, and the flow of time around them suddenly changed.
Yu Wei, Immortal Diancai, and the others simply stood there, maintaining their earlier postures and poses. Ning, however, didn’t feel as though anything had happened at all. He watched as an old man in Daoist robes came walking over towards him.
“Master,” Ning said respectfully.
“I have some things to say to you,” the old man said. “Your Primaltwin was successful, but I trust you noticed that your Celestial Tribulation was incredibly powerful.”
“Yes.” Ning nodded.
His Primaltwin, logically speaking, should have it much easier than his true body…and yet, it had still been forced to the brink.
“Your true body’s tribulation will undoubtedly be utterly astonishing. There might be some unexpected variables that will cause it to be many times more deadly than this Celestial Tribulation,” Subhuti said. “Thus…I order you to master the Grand Dao of the Sword, master the art of applying heartforce to your soul, and reach the Sixth Cycle of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] before you can attempt it.”
“Your disciple understands,” Ning said respectfully. “Your disciple shall definitely work hard and make plentiful preparations.”
“It is good that you understand.” Subhuti nodded.
“Right…once you master the Grand Dao of the Sword,” Subhuti said, “Because you have already condensed the five types of ki within your chest, you’ll be able to join them together and instantly become a Pure Yang True Immortal.”
“Now…the war between your Grand Xia and the Seamless Gate is about to begin. You won’t be able to avoid it. The Seamless Gate will definitely try to come up with another way to kill you,” Subhuti said. “As the saying goes, know thyself and know thy enemy; only then shall you be the victor in every battle. You need to conceal your true power. You absolutely must not let anyone know all of your secrets; once you are exposed, you’ll be in danger.”
“Your disciple understands,” Ning said hurriedly.
“No, you don’t.” Subhuti shook his head. “I am forbidding you from telling anyone in the future about your full power. That includes both myself and your Dao-companion.”
Ning was puzzled. “I can’t even tell you or Yu Wei, Master?”
“You cannot.” Subhuti shook his head. “The intelligence methods the Seamless Gate have available to them are beyond your imagination. If you hide everything in your heart, no one but you will know and the Seamless Gate will not find out either. But if you tell anyone at all…it might be revealed to them. Thus, for the sake of hiding your power, you are not to tell anyone at all about it.”
Ning felt some amazement in his heart.
No wonder the intelligence capabilities of the Seamless Gate were so powerful. So long as he told anyone, there was a chance that it might be leaked to them? This was utterly inconceivable.
“For example…on the day that you become a Pure Yang True Immortal, you are not to tell anyone at all,” Subhuti instructed. “The process of becoming a Pure Yang True Immortal doesn’t cause much of a disturbance; if you don’t tell anyone, no one will know.”
It was different from when a Void-level Earth Immortal became a Celestial Immortal; a Celestial Tribulation was involved. There truly wasn’t much of a disturbance caused when a Celestial Immortal became a Pure Yang True Immortal.
“Once I become a Pure Yang True Immortal, I won’t be able to hide my Pure Yang energy,” Ning said.
“I have a magic incantation that you can use to hide your energy signature. So long as you don’t attack someone, they won’t be able to realize your true power.” Subhuti handed over a bamboo scroll.
Ning immediately accepted it.
“The storm has come to the Three Realms.” Subhuti let out a soft sigh. “The more the enemy knows about your capabilities, the faster you will end up dying. Your Grand Xia, for example…it holds multiple individuals who have broken through to become Pure Yang True Immortals, but they’ve been hiding it all along. Some have been hiding it for trillions of years. The abilities of the Seamless Gate…there is far, far too much that you do not know about them.”
Ning felt astonishment in his heart.
So the Grand Xia actually had multiple Pure Yang True Immortals hidden within it? Still, that made sense; on the surface, the Xia Emperor claimed that he was the sole Pure Yang True Immortal present. If that was true, that really was quite pathetically weak.
“I’ve already given you your instructions. Do not forget them. I won’t be able to protect you at all times, during this storm; in fact, not even the seven Empyrean Gods by your side might necessarily be able to emerge from their Starseizer world to rescue you in time.” Subhuti looked at Ning. “If you want to stay alive…you will primarily have to rely on yourself.”
“If my guess is correct…”
Subhuti lifted his head. “Both sides, the Grand Xia and the Seamless Gate, are already secretly preparing to launch the war. I expect that it will explode onto the stage within a month. You have to be careful.”
After finishing his words, Subhuti turned and walked away, departing gracefully.
“Your disciple shall remember your words,” Ning said respectfully.
“What’s wrong, Ji Ning?”
Immortal Diancai and the others next to Ning all returned to normal. Just now, the flow of time had been changed for them, and so although Ning and Subhuti had spent some time chatting, Immortal Diancai and the others only felt as though an instant had passed. They didn’t see Patriarch Subhuti at all; naturally, they had no idea as to what had just happened.
“Nothing. My master was helping to protect me; he just left.” Ning laughed. “Let’s go. Let’s go back to Brightheart Island.”
“Right.” They all followed Ning in flying back towards Brightheart Island.
As they flew through the air, they saw the Golden Crow beginning to rise.
“The wind and the rain are coming…” Ning mused silently to himself, “Within one month, eh?”